In today’s world we live with a digital presence at every turn. Our personal information and our data lives on a computer, a phone, or a tablet. While modern technology offers many benefits, it’s imperative to be aware of the common threats that accompany it. One of these threats involves, “internet pirates” or scammers who try to steal personal information like account numbers and passwords, or will attempt to solicit money via email. These scammers can do damage to your finances and personal accounts, but if you understand how to protect yourself you can stop the crime before it happens. To help, we’ve created an easy guide on how to prioritize your online safety below.
- Never provide your personal information in response to an unsolicited request, over email. Emails created by phishers (fakers) may look exactly like the real thing. If you did not initiate the communication, you should not provide any information. Remember, scammers can get your email address or other contact information from a variety of online sources, so make sure you’re particularly careful with which websites you’re sharing this information.
- If you believe the contact may be legitimate, contact the institution yourself. For example, if you believe that an email request is not a scammer, submit an inquiry to the Grand Lodge of Ohio at MemberResources@freemason.com to confirm. Until you’ve heard back, hold off on continuing any conversations or providing any information.
- Never provide your password over email or in response to an unsolicited request. The Grand Lodge of Ohio would never ask you to verify your bank account information online or solicit money from you via email. Thieves armed with this information and your account number can help themselves to your savings.
As many have already experienced there is a rash of scammers emailing our Brothers using the Grand Master as “Click Bait.” Most of them are asking that you only contact them via email and want you to send them gift cards for him to disperse. Here are a few additional best practices when looking at an email.
- Check the email address that is sending it to you. If it is coming from the Grand Master or the Grand Lodge of Ohio Office the email will almost always end in one of these two ways “@freemason.com” or “@glohio.com”.
- The Grand Master will never start an email with “Hi.” If you were receiving an email from MWB Grindle he would start it with “Good afternoon Brother” or “Brother XX,”
- The Grand Master will also have an email footer at the end of his email with his name and title.
If by chance you do fall victim to a scammer:
- Contact your financial institution and the Grand Lodge of Ohio immediately and alert it to the situation.
- If you have disclosed sensitive information in a phishing attack, you should also contact one of the three major credit bureaus and discuss whether you need to place a fraud alert on your file, which will help prevent thieves from opening a new account in your name.
Share this blog with your Lodge Secretary as a resource for further discussion during your next stated Lodge meeting.